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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shepard Smith: "We Do Not Fucking Torture!"

Shepard Smith
Headshot from Odeo.com

Crooks & Liars has a great clip up of Shepard Smith's head exploding:
[punctuated with deskpounds] We! Are! America! I don't give a rat's ass if it helps! We are America! We do not fucking torture! We don't do it!
Go watch it, really. I found it quite satisfying. It is rare that I can put myself in the place of a talking head as if he were the protagonist in "Good Night, and Good Luck" or, ahem, "Gandhi." The whole body language thing, the contempt and moral superiority shown when he pushed back in his seat after saying, powerfully, "It's wrong," a sort of genteel version of walking off the set.

Ah, yes, that kind of shit fires me up, and I say that I am with you, Shepard Smith.

Except that you're wrong. We do fucking torture, or at the least we have. And that explains the rage that rises within you. The rage that rises in me, and in most of the alert citizens of this country. The rage is a consequence of the "we."

Torture (the crown jewel of evil, lording as it does over lesser demons like rendition, indefinite detention without trial, etc.) is an infinitely more heinous proposition in a participatory democracy than it is in States where the rule of law is exempted from the Glorious Leader.

It is more heinous because we, the citizens of this democracy, have the tools to pursue justice. We do not have a military dictatorship to cower us, no second-generation megalomaniac with eyes everywhere... in other words, we have no one to blame. We cannot act as if we are the victims of this brutality, as members of these other states might credibly claim.

We are in a moment. While this is not new information for many of us, it has been revealed to us almost in the manner of a confession. Most of their defense has been surrendered. In short, whether or not this is a masterful confection of Obama's, the cake has been baked and is being offered.

This is not to say that the pursuit of light and truth (and some honest national remorse) would lead to any "successes" like prosecutions or schadenfreudelicious frog-marches (though it might.) The point is whether we, the people, enter into the righteous battle, regardless of the outcome.

History will judge the United States of America on this moment.

And the USA is "us," "we." That is why I identify with Shepard Smith's rage - no, I feel it, palpably. Because, this time, torture is personal.

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